Volunteering with Illustrators Australia (IA) has been the most amazing experience. There I look after a couple of email addresses, but mostly the memberships.
The most interesting is the many applications from people who would like to be professional members.
I love seeing all the fabulous portfolios, although all I do is pass them onto the assessors without comment and they do the had work of looking at the application.
What I have noticed is the gap between what makes someone who can draw really, really amazing pictures and a professional illustrator.
Illustration is great. I love looking at the beautiful work on Instagram, Twitter, portfolio sites and the applications that come through. But doing great work and creating wonderful pictures does not on it’s own constitute any individual as an employment ready, professional illustrator.
Things that constantly crop up in discourse with illustrators:
Understanding CMYK & RGB colour profiles. *eyeroll*
Meet deadlines. If asked to get something done by a certain date, get it done by that date, professionals shouldn’t need chasing.
Have contact details on your website and social media profiles. How do people get work if commissioners/art directors/publishers/creative directors/agents don’t know how to get in touch? Again, professionals shouldn’t need chasing.
Be a registered business, in Australia that means having an ABN. Other countries have other rules. Look it up!
Understand your worth and don’t undersell yourself, it damages the whole industry if illustrators undercut each other
Be a member of IA! Get involved and meet YOUR people and learn about the industry along the way, it’s also a great way to support other illustrators.
If you’re not ready for Professional membership, there are other levels (they’re often cheaper) and you have access to a wealth of information to help you and your business thrive.
Don’t be rude or hard to talk to (i.e.: not being a dick)